Saturday January 28, 2023 – Father Chisholm of The Keys of the Kingdom

Micah 6:8  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? (Amplified)

Donna and I watched an old black & white movie on TCM that truly touched us deeply.  This 1944 film was the second film featuring a young Gregory Peck in the leading role. His role was that of Father Francis Chisholm, an unconventional Scottish Catholic priest who struggles to establish a mission in China.  His moving performance led to his first Oscar nomination. (Good news: Available on DVD)

The name of this movie is The Keys of the Kingdom and is based on the 1941 novel by A. J. Cronin.  The story is so wonderful, I was hoping that it was based on a historical figure.  Although it is not, that did not diminish the power of its message.  I found myself relating to the struggles that he faced.  So many aspects of the Christian life – the joys and the hardships – are presented in this movie.  Many of them are worth noting but the one that I want to focus on is one that repeatedly stuck me throughout the story.  I was repeatedly touched by the refreshing and vibrant humility that the character of Father Chisholm possessed.

Father Chisholm experiences many difficult challenges over the six decade span of this story.  I found myself being convicted of my own pride in watching how Father Chisholm responded with humility and dependence upon God.  Yes it was a movie, but I found myself repenting and being inspired to Godliness by watching the story unfold.  I am embarrassed to say that I had forgotten just how moving and inspiring true humility is.  “…Biblical humility is not the inverted conceit which disguises itself as lowliness.” (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, pg 223)  It is a virtue that God prizes.

I am so grateful for the book and the movie because God has used both of them to provoke me to pursue walking humbly with my God in a renewed way.  Pride can be so subtle and so pervasive in our lives.  Fortunately, God enables us to see our shortcomings and embrace the process whereby His Spirit will enable us to become more like Jesus.


About Don Schmidt

Beginning in the fall of 2009, Don was VP of Operations & Director of Student Life for 2 years at Williamson Christian College in Franklin, TN - a wonderful, accredited 4 year college for adult learners. That is where he started writing the devotionals. The passion of his heart is to love God and to help others learn to love God more and more. He grew up in St. Joseph, MI - Class of '66. Graduated from Michigan State in '70 and Wheaton Grad School in '78. Thunderous conversion October 11, 1968. He and Donna were engaged 2 hrs & 15 minutes after they met August 25, 1969 at a Christian camp in Georgia. They married in '70 and have 4 wonderful sons. Most of his adult career has been in business in NE Ohio. They lived for 20 years in Peninsula, OH. They attended St. Luke's Ministries (Anglican) in Copley, OH for many years. Six years ago they were reassigned by the Lord to attend River of Life Community Church in Hudson, OH. St. Luke's prayerfully sent them off on this new adventure with much love.
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